What Size Banners Should an Affiliate Program Have? « Affiliate Marketing Blog by Geno Prussakov

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This is a very important question regardless of whether you are going to market products or services through the affiliate channel. If it is the former, you will pay a lot of attention to deep-linked text links, conveniently formatted and well-categorized data feed, but you will have to have both general banners and holiday-specific ones. If, on the other hand, you’re providing a service (and you will have no data feed at all), you definitely need a good creative inventory for affiliates to work with. One or the other, you want to provide your affiliates with a solid and diverse creative arsenal.

Below you may find a list of banner sizes that I recommend every affiliate program to have. The list follows this format: [banner size] – [minimum quantity]-[recommended quantity]. Some of these recommendations come from my observations of the sizes that affiliates prefer (e.g.: 88×31 px buttons, the importance of having which you should never underestimate); while the choice of some other sizes rests directly on the assumption that many webmasters, who will be recruited into your affiliate program, are already monetizing their traffic using Google AdSense, and, therefore, it is important for you to provide them with a banner to upload in place of an AdSense unit (e.g.: 120×600 px and 160×600 px skyscrapers). Here is my list:

468×60 px – 2-5 banners
125×125 px – 2-5
120×600 px – 2-5
88×31 px button – 2-5

160×600 px – 2-3
120×240 px – 2-3
234×60 px – 2-3
254×331 px – 2-3
728×90 px – 2-3

720×300 px – 1-2
300×250 px – 1-2

Remembering that some affiliates will need banners of different sizes or color gamma, it is always good to let them know that you are open to creating custom banners for affiliates. If you do not have an in-house capability of handling the creative support, it is easy to outsource such work on the on-demand basis.

If you are an affiliate reading this post, and there’s a banner size that you think must be listed, but it’s not, feel free to post your recommendation in the “comments” field below.

About Geno Prussakov

CEO & Founder of AM Navigator – an award-winning OPM agency. Founder & Chair of Affiliate Management Days conference. Author of bestselling "A Practical Guide to Affiliate Marketing" (2007) and "Affiliate Program Management: An Hour a Day" (2011), speaker, consultant, and affiliate marketing evangelist.

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33 Responses to “What Size Banners Should an Affiliate Program Have?”

  1. Ayako says:

    This is a great post because no matter how great merchants are, affiliates cannot use them if they do not provide the ad sizes they need. From your list, I have never heard of 254×331 and I am hearing more and more requests for 300×100 ad sizes lately.

  2. Geno says:

    Ayako,

    Thank you for your post. Believe it or not, but there are actually hundreds of affiliate programs out there that have only one size “banner” available, and it is their logo.

  3. Geno says:

    Wow! I’ve just found an affiliate program on CJ that has no banners at all.

  4. Paul Graham says:

    Hi Geno,

    I think you’ve got the sizes pretty well covered, but something I’d like to see from companies who have multiple products that are all in the same niche is a system where you can rotate ads for the various/products services they sell without needing your own script, or your own ad serving solution.

    Having to download banners individually, upload them to your own server, then load them into your ad software is just a pain in the butt and that’s what a lot of companies expect their affiliates to do. But what they should do is provide a solution at their end that lets their affiliates just copy a snippet of code and paste it into their sites.

    The easier you make it on your affiliates (cut and paste is always good), the more they use your promo materials and the more sales you make.

    Simple. But surprisingly few (especially smaller) merchants do it.

    ~ Paul

  5. Geno says:

    Paul,

    Thank you for your comment. When you say “multiple products in the same niche”, are you referring to service niches? It seems like it, as for retail products data feeds are the way to go.

    For e-businesses that offer several different services in the same vertical, a rotating banner solution is definitely the way to go. Dynamic banners also work very well for retail merchants when running deal-of-the-day or seasonal campaigns.

  6. Paul Graham says:

    Yes Geno, exactly.

    I’m very familiar with CJ and networks like that where the majority of it is retail and feeds are definitely the way to go there, but what I was really referring to is more relevant to the IM industry, casino/gaming affiliate networks, the affiliate companies who manage multiple dating sites and services like that, where one company (or one guy) is running the show for multiple digital downloads or for multiple services.

    Then providing one snippet of code to your affiliates that lets them rotate ads for different products/services AND that allows you to run seasonal promotions etc. on your affiliates’ websites, without them doing a thing, makes so much sense.

    If the affiliate program and sales process is already solid, then adding a feature like this should go without saying. Would take a programmer all of 10 minutes to do it too.

    So many people don’t do this though. I don’t get it.

    Affiliate Management 101 – make it so easy that all they need to do is cut and paste and YOU update their websites.

    Brilliant ;-)

    ~ Paul

  7. Rich says:

    Nice list and great info. I use a 250X250 quite often in some of my posts. It is a convenient size to put within an article post and still have some word wrap around it.

  8. John says:

    Well put, Geno. I’m glad that you’ve mentioned Google’s Adsense program as many people from newbies to gurus use Adsense on their sites. As an affiliate manager myself, I’ve modeled my banner sizes after the Adsense sizes in hopes to one, standardize the sizes, and two, perhaps draw some people to replace their Adsense ads for one of ours.

    Best Regards,

    John

  9. Convergence says:

    Geno,

    Thanks for publishing this! I think I’ll forward a link to all the merchants I sign up for that don’t have proper sized banners.

    Two sizes they always seem to omit:

    728×90
    160×600

    Thanks again, and keep up the excellent work!

    ~ Denis

  10. Geno says:

    Paul, yes, as mentioned above dynamic banners/widgets/etc is definitely the way to go.

    Rich, Denis, thank you for your comments too. I do hope merchants will find this list/post of help. After all, if I don’t post about this, how will they know they want to offer all these sizes?

    A prospective client has asked me about the sizes and quantities of affiliate banners they should have, and after I’ve given them the above list, they told me that their competitors offer only 4-5 banners through their affiliate programs (meaning: “Why bother creating 20-30 different ones?”) Why? If nothing else mattered, then to look more attractive to prospective affiliates, and to offer wider creative options to the current ones.

  11. Nancy says:

    The standard sizes would do better to reduce dimensions by one or two pixels because there are still adblockers keyed to standard banner sizes. Many of Amazon’s cookies (not the ads though!!) are blocked because Amazon does not have a privacy policy in the required format. Hey, why should they? But that’s another topic. Browsers today decide what you can see based on their default settings which new web shoppers have no clue as to settings and adjustments/how/why to alter those default settings. No wonder toolbars proliferate.

  12. Geno says:

    Nancy brings up an important point (about altering standard size banners by 1-2 pixels for ad-blocking functions not to cause affiliates a problem). However, since the majority of merchants stick to the standard sizes, I think it’s often easier for an affiliate to obtain an image resizer php script, and apply it to all merchant banners they use on their website (regardless of the merchant).

  13. Christian says:

    Thank you very much for this really informative article – i was wondering why no one in germany has such kind of listing and found yours. Great work – keep going on!

  14. Paul Smith says:

    Hi Geno,
    Thank you for this list, I’m a Merchant and I’m sourcing some Affiliate networks at the moment, but there’s not a lot of info on the best image sizes to offer affiliates, and this is just great. Your excellent suggestion of offering custom image sizes for Affiliates is also something we plan to do offer.

    Ciao
    Paul

  15. Ken Lempit says:

    Geno, thank you for a great post which provides not only the ad unit sizes, but also I appreciate the quantity guidance and editorial POV. For example, we were tempted to not bother with the 88×31 button as it is so constraining from a creative aspect.

    Much appreciated. Keep it up!

    Ken

  16. Geno says:

    Thank you, Ken. Yes, those 88×31 buttons are critically important. Very many affiliates use them as a beautiful alternative to a simple text link.

    Glad you’ve enjoyed the post. Should you have any questions related to affiliate program management, do not hesitate to hit me up. I am always looking for new material to address in my blog.

  17. Andrew Rogers says:

    Geno,

    Great post, thanks.

    If you had to pick 5 banner sizes for the affiliate space, which are the most popular (from an impression standpoint). We are limited resource-wise, so trying to keep it manageable.

    Thanks.

  18. Geno says:

    Andrew, if I had to pick 5 sizes, they would be the first five listed in my post: 468×60, 125×125, 120×600, 88×31, and 160×600. Depending on the context (type of merchant, and what affiliates of your competitors are already using for creatives; you may find this information by logging into their affiliate network as an affiliate, and analyzing the performance of their creatives), I might’ve recommended swapping the 120×600 one with a leaderboard (728×90 px banner), or some other size (most demanded, or most frequently used the merchant’s niche).

  19. Geno – thanks for responding so quickly. In you don’t mind, I have a couple of more questions. Thanks for letting me pick your brain.

    1) Text links vs banner ads (which have more inventory within the ad networks)
    2) Best ad networks (I’m currently focused on CJ, Linkhare, Share A Sale, Clickbooth, affiliate.com & everblue).

    We are an online aspirational learning site (non-degree based). We offer pay-for courses on topics that range from parenting to wine appreciation to nat’l security.

  20. Geno says:

    Andrew,

    1) Text links always win, and are generally most preferred by affiliates (as long as they are deep-linked).

    2) As far as affiliate networks go, you’ve mentioned both some traditional and some CPA networks. Read about the differences here, see this comparison (I’d choose between these), and also make sure you browse through my Online Guide to Affiliate Marketing (many of your questions will be answered there).

  21. Isis J says:

    Hi there. This article was very helpful. I was starting to feel a little overwhelmed thinking I had to create large numbers of banners for my new affiliate program. What do you think about the offering of 200+ banners from some affiliate programs? When I first saw that from one particular merchant it sounded right in my head (more is better right?) but then I thought, “who on earth is going to look through all of those?”. But maybe for Affiliates it’s worth it. I’m not sure.

    • Geno says:

      Isis, I’d say do a good job on the 20-40 (per the spread outlined in the above post) rather than having such an overwhelming quantity is 200+.

      Having said this, much will depend on the specifics of your affiliate program. What performance are you seeking? Product sales? Service leads? Subscriptions?

  22. Isis J says:

    Hi there. :) I sell products. So I’d be offering a percentage on sales to affiliates. I’d like to definitely offer what you have listed above. I really needed to see the recommend amount of banners to start with or I would have been tearing my hair out trying to churn out a bunch of banners that would have probably suffered in the design area. 20-40 is good. :) Thanks!

    • Geno says:

      Gotcha. As mentioned in the post “the list follows this format: [banner size] – [minimum quantity]-[recommended quantity]“. So, you do have recommended quantities there. ;)

  23. Isis J says:

    Sweet! It’s also great to see where some of the others mention other sizes they are seeing more requests for that I can keep in mind as well. Great blog! I find myself coming here almost daily now.

    • Geno says:

      It’s been nearly 2.5 years since the time I wrote the above blog post. In my newest book on affiliate program management (Affiliate Program Management: An Hour a Day) I actually have a slightly different (more updated) list of recommended banner sizes (and quantities). It may be found in Table 7.1 on page 120. Here it is for you, Iris:

      468×60 px — 7-10+ (target different demographics, website categories, specials and promos)
      125×125 px — 4-6
      120×600 px — 4-6
      120×90 px — 4-6
      120×60 px — 4-6
      88×31 px button — 3-4
      728×90 px — 3-4
      160×600 px — 2-3
      120×240 px — 2-3
      234×60 px — 2-3
      250×250 px — 2-3
      254×331 px — 2-3
      100×100 px — 1-2
      720×300 px — 1-2
      300×250 px — 1-2

  24. Isis J says:

    Thanks so much! I actually have your book but I haven’t gotten that far yet. I’m juggling projects at the moment. The calm won’t come until mid-October but I’m gathering information when time permits. :) I will add those sizes to my cheat-sheet. Cheers. :)

  25. Hi Geno,

    180×150 and 300×600 are listed as 2 of the 7 Core Standard Ad Units by iab.net (as of Feb 28, 2011)

    Are those sizes not used very often by affiliates?

    • Geno says:

      Honestly, Frank, I haven’t seen too many affiliates using these, but anything that’s recognized as “standard” should definitely be included. For these particular sizes, however, I wouldn’t create more than 1-2 each.

  26. Nishant Patar says:

    Dear Geno.
    I need help in some trouble.I am currently building my website.
    Beside,google adsense;I created some another affiliate account,which them banner I want to put in my website.
    But I have difficulty in banner rotating.
    I need some example code for simple,lite html and css based for banner rotating.
    Please reply.

  27. Rory says:

    Hey Geno, great article. Thanks for all the useful information.

    Can you clarify something for me? You’re recommending the above breakdown for EACH PRODUCT?

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